Skip to main content

Cookies policy

A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers downloaded on to a device when the user accesses certain websites. Cookies allow a website to recognise a user’s device. Cookies DO NOT allow our web site to access any other part of your computer systems.

The law which applies to how cookies and similar technologies are used for storing information on a user’s equipment such as their computer or mobile device changed on 26 May 2011. Full details can be found at The Information Commissioners Office web siteNote: This is a link to a PDF document that may have limitations in accessibility

The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 implemented a European Directive – 2002/58/EC – which is concerned with the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. In 2009 this Directive was amended by Directive 2009/136/EC. This included a change to Article 5(3) of the E-Privacy Directive requiring consent for storage or access to information stored on a subscriber or users terminal equipment. The essence of this is that, because cookies are stored on your computer, web site owners need to get users’ permission to access their computer to retrieve the cookies.

The UK introduced the amendments on 25 May 2011 through The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011.

The rules in this area are essentially designed to protect the privacy of internet users – even where the information being collected about them is not directly personally identifiable. The changes to the Directive in 2009 were prompted in part by concerns about online tracking of individuals and the use of spyware. These are not rules designed to restrict the use of particular technologies as such, they are intended to prevent information being stored on people’s computers, and used to recognise them via the device they are using, without their knowledge and agreement.

User consent can be explicit or implied. You may have seen web sites that ask you to click an ‘accept cookies’ feature. This gains your implicit consent, and this is required where cookies are set by web sites other than the one you are visiting (e.g. Google Analytics). The Information Commissioner’s guidance made it clear that although an explicit opt-in mechanism might provide regulatory certainty it was not the only means of gaining consent.

“Implied consent” is an equally valid form of consent, and consent can be inferred by, for example, visiting a website, moving from one page to another or clicking on a particular button. The key point is that implied consent can only be used where a web site uses cookies for internal purposes that are restricted to what is essential to provide the service, and are not used to remember information in the long term.

Cookies may be used when anonymous users (those who do not log into our web) access our pages. Our web site makes only a minimal use of cookies. Those that we use are required to deliver the information you request as you move about the site, and to temporarily store data to save the need to process and download it on every page. Once you have finished using our web, no further use is made of the data.

We may also use this information to record the pages that users view. This helps us to plan and administer our web site. Data is limited to a ‘session’ identification code that all web servers and users’ computers use to maintain their dialog. In compliance with our Privacy Policy, we have no way of knowing who you are or where you live or work and all data is anonymised.

As a registered user, we may store additional information in cookies. Users who register with us agree to the use of these cookies. No personal data is stored in any cookies and they are used only to help our systems to ‘remember’ information such as your preferences. The data in cookies is not normally readable by anyone other than our web server. Even if it was hacked, the data would be meaningless outwith the context of our web site.

If you have any concerns about the use of cookies on our web site, please let us know.